Baseball-Almanac.com's World Series section
Chapter 1: The Early 1900s (1903-1919)
1903: Pittsburgh Pirates (3) vs. Boston Pilgrims (5)
In an effort to end a bitter 2 year rivalry and promote unity in baseball, the veteran National League and newly established American League decided to bury the hatchet and come together for a new kind of season finale. 9 years earlier, the 2 top teams in the National League competed in an experimental post-season championship in which Boston beat Pittsburgh 5 games to 3. In 1903, both teams (now in separate leagues) found themselves competing against one another in the first official "World Series". Echoing the 1894 proposal of owner William C. Temple, Pittsburgh’s Barney Dreyfuss and Boston’s Henry Killilea agreed that their ballclubs, who were both pennant winners, should meet in a best-of-nine playoff series for the "World Championship." The spectacle would represent the first step towards a mutual reconciliation for years of open hostilities and blatant player raids. The Pirates, who had just won their third consecutive pennant, were the perfect representatives for the veteran Nationals. Their rivals, the Pilgrims, had won their flag by 14 1/2 games and represented the fledgling Americans who were still trying to establish themselves as a worthy competitor.
Game 1 of the series proved to be a complete success as fans were treated to the best baseball that both leagues had to offer. The Pirates played exceptionally well on both sides of the ball as Deacon Phillippe pitched a 6-hitter and right fielder Jimmy Sebring hit the first homer in World Series history. He alone drove in 4 runs for a 7-3 victory. Game 2 did not disappoint either as Boston mirrored Pittsburgh’s previous performance. They evened the series when Bill Dinneen threw a three-hitter and Patsy Dougherty walloped two homers in a 3-0 triumph.
Pittsburgh’s pitching staff, ravaged by illness and injuries, forced the Pirates to start Phillippe again in Game 3 after only 1 day of rest. The veteran workhorse, a 25 game winner during the regular season, rose to the challenge allowing only 4 hits in a 4-2 win. Three days later, Pittsburgh went to their dependable ace for a third time and backed him up with reinforcements who came out swinging. Third basemen, Tommy Leach, knocked in 3 runs while Honus Wagner and Ginger Beaumont each collected three hits. Boston was unable to answer and Pittsburgh led the series 3 games to 1.
Boston was down, but far from out. Cy Young, a veteran, 28-game winner was called upon to cool off the Pirates in Game 5 and that’s exactly what he did. Pittsburgh never knew what hit them. Young yielded only six hits and drove in three runs in an 11-2 runaway. The following day, Game 2 winner Bill Dinneen maintained Boston’s momentum with a 6-3 victory in a contest that featured four hits, two RBIs and two stolen bases by the losing Pirates. The series was now tied at 3 games each.
Deacon Phillippe, who was undefeated in the series, took the mound for the Pirates in Game 7. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, all good things must come to an end. The Pilgrims’ playing manager Jimmy Collins and Chick Stahl knocked him for first-inning triples and Boston bolted to an early 2-0 lead en route to a 7-3 triumph. For the first time, the Pilgrims had seized the Series lead. Ahead four games to three, Boston would attempt to nail down the championship on its own Huntington Avenue Grounds.
Game 8 looked to be a pitchers duel as Dinneen and Phillippe went head to head to a scoreless tie through the first 3 innings. Boston managed to get on the board twice in the 4th and again in the 6th. Phillippe battled on and would end up pitching his fifth complete game in the Series, which lasted 13 days, but Dinneen bested him in the climactic finale, tossing his second shutout of the Series and notching his third victory. The 3-0 decision was the Pilgrims fourth straight triumph and made the upstart Boston team champions of the First American League vs. National League World Series. With great pitching dominating the play, hitters obviously had a rough time at the plate. Boston batted .252 while Pittsburgh, despite the presence of NL batting champion Honus Wagner, hit .237.
1904: Cancelled due to NL refusal
The inaugural World Series of 1903 was a resounding success and represented the first step in healing the bruised egos of both the veteran National and fledgling American Leagues. Pittsburgh and Boston went head-to-head for 8 games proving that great baseball between the 2 leagues was possible and that a merger would benefit the growth of the sport. Unfortunately, some owners still disagreed with the concept and in 1904, it was prematurely cancelled. John T. Brush, president of the National League champion New York Giants, refused to play the returning American League champion Boston Pilgrims. He was quoted as stating that he refused to compete with a "representative of the inferior American League". Surprisingly, Brush regretted the decision and later that year proposed to continue with the series as originally conceived. His about-face spawned the "Brush Rules," a set of guidelines relating to the on-field play and off-field finances of the World Series which exists to this day.
1905: New York Giants (4) vs. Philadelphia Athletics (1)
After refusing an invitation to play the Boston Pilgrims the 1904 World Series, the New York Giants agreed to participate in the 1905 Fall Classic in an effort to win back it’s fan approval. Many were upset by the Giants' "no thanks" attitude of the previous year and it was clearly visible in their regular season attendance. This time, John T. Brush and company were eager to take on the American League champion Philadelphia Athletics after an NL race in which the Giants won 105 games. The Series would be contested under guidelines drawn up by the Giants' owner, seeking to stabilize an event he earlier had cancelled. Besides outlining a revenue formula, the John T. "Brush Rules" called for a best-of-seven format.
The Giants were extremely confident going into their first combined post-season championship for obvious reasons. Their pitching rotation read like an All-Star ballot and featured Christy Mathewson (31 victories), Joe McGinnity (21) and Red Ames (22) and also included Dummy Taylor (15) and Hooks Wiltse (14). New York wound up using only two of its "big five" as starters in the Series, but that twosome proved more than enough. The Athletics were not as fortunate and were still reeling from the late-season loss of standout lefthander Rube Waddell.
In the opening game, lefthander Eddie Plank, a 25 game winner for the Athletics, was matched up against the Giants ace Mathewson. Recalling memories of the first World Series, it remained a pitcher’s duel until the 5th inning when the Giants offense finally broke through for 2 runs. Game 1 was all Mathewson - on both sides of the ball. At the plate, he contributed a single in the 5th that ignited New York’s scoring drive and a key sacrifice in the 9th. On the mound, he completed a four-hit, 3-0 victory and did no walk a single batter. For Game 2, Athletic’s manager Connie Mack called on righthander Chief Bender to even the score. He obliged the legendary skipper with support from Bris Lord's run-scoring singles in the third and eighth innings. In the end, Bender out-dueled the Giants’ Joe McGinnity for a 3-0 victory. The Series was now tied and an interesting trend had developed with 2 shutouts in 2 games.
With 2 days rest, Game 1 winner Christy Mathewson was given the start for Game 3. Once again, the righthanded sensation dominated the contest and held Philadelphia to only 4 hits and 1 walk. First baseman Dan McGann was the Giants' big gun in a 9-0 romp, collecting two singles and a double and driving in four runs. New York was now ahead, but the Athletics refused to roll over and entered the following contest with a renewed vigor. Game 4 represented the ultimate pitcher’s duel and to this day, is still considered one of the best match-ups ever on the mound during a World Series. This time McGinnity and Plank hooked up in a contest that allowed only 9 hits and 1 run. Philadelphia matched the Giants play in every aspect of the game and only lost due to a crucial infield error. The 1-0 triumph increased New York's Series lead to three games to one.
Once again, Mack decided to go with Chief Bender to halt the Giants in Game 5, while McGraw decided to stick with a winner and brought Mathewson back for a third performance. Pitching on only 1 day of rest, the Giant’s workhorse was again up to the challenge allowing only 6 hits with no walks. His counterpart was almost as good yielding only 5 hits, but allowing 2 runs. The 1905 New York Giants suddenly found themselves the champions of a contest that they had previously boycotted and had a newfound respect for their American League rivals who made them earn it.
Mathewson was clearly the most valuable player of the 1905 Fall Classic although the award had not yet been established. In the space of six days, he pitched three shutouts and permitted only 14 hits. The Giants' ace struck out 18 and walked one in 27 innings. Besides Mathewson and McGinnity, the only other Giants pitcher to see action was Ames, who worked all of one inning (as a reliever in Game 2). Pitching was the most noteworthy aspect of the Series with 5 shutouts in 5 games.
1906: Chicago Cubs (2) vs. Chicago White Sox (4)
The 1906 World Series was the first to feature 2 teams from the same city, "the windy city" that is. Chicago was split in two as the American League’s (South Side) White Sox prepared to battle the National League (West Side) Cubs. The Sox, despite having a meager offense, managed to win the Series opener 2-1. In fact they would play true to form in the first four games of the Series collecting only six runs and 11 hits. The Cubs rebounded with a 7-1 victory in Game 2 that featured the one-hit pitching of Ed Reulbach and the timely hitting of Harry Steinfeldt and Joe Tinker. Third baseman Steinfeldt, a .327 hitter after his off-season acquisition from Cincinnati, went 3-for-3 and Tinker had two hits and scored three runs.
In Game 3, White Sox pitcher Ed Walsh allowed 1 single off of Solly Hofman and a double to Frank Schulte in the first inning He then went on to hold the Cubs hitless for the rest of the way. The South Side’s franchise emerged as 3-0 winners, with Walsh striking out 12 batters and George Rohe tagging Jack Pfiester for a bases-loaded triple in the sixth inning. Mordecai Brown drew the Cubs even the next day, denying the White Sox a hit for the first 5 2/3 innings on the way to a two-hit, 1-0 victory. The trend would not last as the White Sox bats came alive in Games 5 and 6. Nicknamed the "Hitless Wonders" by the local press, they came out swinging and drove Reulbach from the mound in the third inning. Continuing their momentum, they added four runs in the 4th and held on for an 8-6 victory. Frank Isbell paced the Sox's 12-hit attack with a Series-record four doubles and George Davis knocked in three runs as well.
The Cubs were stunned by their cross-town rival’s renewed zeal and were unable to stop them in Game 6 despite their best efforts. The "born-again" bats from the South Side defeated Mordecai Brown (the Cubs’ Game 4 winner) and cruised to a stunning Series-deciding 8-3 victory that was fueled by 14 hits. The Sox had pulled off an upset of gigantic proportions despite hitting only .198 in the Series. Their top threesome, Patsy Dougherty, Billy Sullivan and Fielder Jones, the team's playing manager, combined for only four hits in 62 at-bats. Nevertheless they had out-hit the Cubs, who batted only .196. Their top hitter, center fielder Solly Hofman, had appeared in only 64 games during the regular season, yet he played every inning of the Series and batted .304.
1907: Chicago Cubs (4) vs. Detroit Tigers (0)
The 1907 World Series once again, featured the National’s Chicago Cubs going up against the American’s Detroit Tigers, who had just edged out the previous year’s champion Philadelphia Athletics in a fierce pennant race. The opening contest rewarded fans on both sides of the field with neither team backing down. After 12 innings, the game was called because of darkness. Tigers 3, Cubs 3. Although Detroit had clearly started Game 1 with more momentum, Chicago showed it’s resolve and snatched the victory from the Tiger’s grasp. The Cubs seemed inspired by their stunning loss to the underdog White Sox in the last years Series and had obviously learned from their mistakes. It was only the beginning as Manager Hugh Jennings' Tigers would fail to recapture the initial fire and fail to score more than one run in any of the remaining Series games. Chicago's Jack Pfiester dominated Detroit, 3-1, in Game 2 and Ed Reulbach continued the streak beating AL champs, 5-1, the next day.
The Tigers showed some signs of life in Game 4 when they seized a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning as an up-and-coming 20-year-old named Ty Cobb, having just won his first batting championship, slammed a triple and scored on a Claude Rossman single. Unfortunately that was all they could muster and went down to a 6-1 defeat against Orval Overall. Game 5 was Detroit’s last chance at turning the series, but Mordecai Brown threw a seven-hitter clinching the 2-0 triumph and a Cubs sweep of the Series. Chicago’s boys from the West Side had dominated the entire contest and made amends for the Series loss to their cross town rivals the previous year.
Most fans were not surprised by Chicago’s supremacy. The Cubs were quickly becoming baseball’s first "dynasty" making their 2nd (soon to be 3rd) post-season championship appearance, getting there by winning 107 games and finishing 17 games ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Detroit never had a chance as the Cubs aggressive play on both sides of the plate stole the show. They had outstanding offense from Steinfeldt and Evers, who batted .471 and .350, respectively (with Steinfeldt getting seven hits in the last three games of the Series and Evers getting seven in the first three games). They ran with reckless abandon against the Tigers, stealing seven bases in Game 1 and finishing the Series with 18. Most importantly, Chicago’s pitching staff held a potentially threatening Tigers line-up to 43 scoreless innings out of 48 and shut down the American League's top hitters of 1907, Cobb and Sam Crawford. Cobb managed only a .200 average in the Series after batting .350 in the regular season; Crawford hit .238 after a .323 season.
1908: Chicago Cubs (4) vs. Detroit Tigers (1)
The 4th official World Series marked the 3rd consecutive post-season championship appearance of the Chicago Cubs. After losing to their cross town rivals, the White Sox in 1906, the reigning national league champs made amends by sweeping Detroit in the 1907 Series. The Tigers had learned a hard lesson and were also determined to make a repeat appearance. They met their goal by winning the American League pennant on the last day of the regular season. The press played up the rematch on both sides as Chicago papers were filled with words like "repeat" while the Detroit papers used "revenge".
Game 1 recalled memories of the previous year’s opener as the Tigers held a surprise lead going into the 9th inning. Once again, the Tigers watched their advantage fade away, although this year the game would not be called at a tie. Detroit pitcher, Ed Simmons continued to look strong going into the 9th as he retired Johnny Evers to open the inning. The 24-game winner was 2 outs away from Series leading victory, when suddenly everything folded. In what must have seemed like a recurring bad dream, Simmons yielded six consecutive hits resulting in five runs. Chicago snatched the lead and never looked back en route to a 10-6 triumph, using Orval Overall and Mordecai Brown in relief roles behind Ed Reulbach.
Chicago’s Orval Overall was given the start for Game 2, having only served in a relief role in the Series opener and was paired up against the Tiger’s ace Bill Donovan. Both pitchers went head-to-head for 4 innings straight with neither allowing a single hit in a 0-0 standoff. Three innings later, the Tigers had managed 3 hits and the Cubs had 1. The game remained scoreless going into the 8th inning with both teams waiting for the other to blink. Donovan blinked first and ran into trouble in the bottom of the inning. Joe Tinker started the rally with a 2 run homer to right field and before the inning was over, the Cubs had four more hits and four more runs. Ty Cobb tried to generate some momentum with a run-scoring single in the 9th, but once again, Chicago prevailed, winning 6-1. The Cubs were on a roll and won their sixth consecutive Series game against the Tigers.
Detroit was finally able to break Chicago’s post-season winning streak in Game 3 with a stellar performance on the mound by George Mullin. The Tigers’ ace dominated the Cubs line-up allowing only 7 hits in an 8-3 victory. The win appeared to breathe some life back into the perennial losers, but their renewed fervor didn’t last long. In Game 4, they recorded a miserable four-hit effort in a 3-0 loss against Brown and they would never recover. Overall, who had performed so magnificently Game 2, was even better in Game 5. The 27-year-old right hander allowed only three hits and struck out 10 batters in the 2-0 triumph and back-to-back Series winner. The Tigers’ embarrassment was dulled by the lack of witnesses in the stands as only 6,210 fans witnessed the finale in Detroit, the smallest crowd in Series history.
The Cubs became the first team to record 3 consecutive World Series appearances and 2 consecutive World Series victories with both championship wins coming off the heels of a record 116-victory season of 1906. In 1908, Chicago’s West Side franchise was more than just a winning baseball team, they had just become sports first official "dynasty".
1909: Pittsburgh Pirates (4) vs. Detroit Tigers (3)
The Pittsburgh Pirates, a regular Series contender, won their 7th National League championship in 1909, behind the brilliant play of veteran superstar Honus Wagner. (He would add his 8th and final title 2 years later) Wagner had hit .339 for the Buccos and Pittsburgh’s pitching staff was just as dangerous. Howie Camnitz and Vic Willis won 25 and 22 games, respectively, for the Pirates and Lefty Leifield posted 19 victories. Detroit returned for their 3rd consecutive Fall Classic determined to erase the memories of their previous efforts. The Tigers were also backed up by the heavy bat of Ty Cobb (who had just won his third consecutive AL batting title) and a formidable pitching staff featuring Mullin, Willett and Summers who had a combined 70 victories. None of this mattered though as the Pirates "big three" were unable to win a single game in the Series and only one Detroit standout, Mullin, performed as predicted by chalking up 2 victories.
The Tigers managed to outplay the Pirates veteran starters, but they couldn’t handle newcomer Babe Adams, who had compiled a 12-3 record for the Pirates in 1909. Adams drew the start for Game 1 and responded with a 6-hitter, 4-1 victory that was sparked by playing Manager Fred Clarke’s game-tying homer in the 4th inning. Once again, Detroit had lost the lead… and lost the game.
Game 2 was tipped in Detroit’s favor with a 3 run outburst in the third inning that was ignited by the spectacular home plate stealing of Ty Cobb. The Tigers had managed to square the Series at one game apiece and were looking for more. Pittsburgh regained the lead in Game 3 when they jumped on the back of Honus Wagner, who had 3 hits, 3 RBIs and 3 stolen bases and rallied to an 8-6 victory. The win-swapping continued when Tiger ace George Mullin actually lived up to his reputation and threw a 5-hit, shutout while striking out 10 Pirates in a Game 4 victory.
Once again, Detroit had tied it up, but were unable to repeat as the Babe Adams threw another 6-hitter, resulting in an 8-4, Game 5 triumph. The resilient Tigers found themselves back in business the next afternoon when Mullin, after being roughed up for three first-inning runs, surrendered only one more and wound up with a 7-hit, Game 6 winner. With the Series going down to a climactic seventh game (the first to go the distance) Pittsburgh's Fred Clarke went with 2 game winner, Babe Adams as his pitcher, while Detroit Manager Hugh Jennings decided on Bill Donovan, a complete-game winner in Game 2.
Donovan was off to a miserable start as he hit the first Pirate batter and went on to walk 6 of them in the first 2 innings. He was pulled after 3 with Adams confidently holding a 2-0 lead. Pittsburgh never looked back as the Bucco’s Babe nailed his third 6-hitter of the Series and an 8-0 championship victory. It was the Pirates 3rd post-season appearance, 2nd official Series and first World Championship. Honus Wagner continued to prove his Cooperstown worthiness by hitting .333, with 7 RBIs and 6 stolen bases. Playing manager Fred Clarke set a record with 4 walks in Game 4. On the other side, future Hall of Famer Ty Cobb did not fare as well. Appearing in what would be his last Series (although he would be an active player through 1928), Cobb batted only .231 but led Detroit with 6 RBIs.
1910: Chicago Cubs (1) vs. Philadelphia Athletics (4)
The first decade of World Series baseball came to a close as 2 regulars, the Chicago Cubs (making their 4th appearance) and Philadelphia Athletics (making their 2nd) went head-to-head for the championship title. Both teams were powerhouses with the A’s chalking 102 victories and winning their pennant by 14 games. The A’s boasted three .300 hitters with Eddie Collins, Rube Oldring and Danny Murphy and a 31-game winner in Jack Coombs, a 27-year-old righthander who was 12-12 the previous season. Both teams suffered devastating injures and would not be at full strength for the Series. The Cubs had lost 2nd baseman Johnny Evers to a broken ankle and Philadelphia was missing Oldring with a broken leg and pitcher Eddie Plank who was suffering from an arm ailment.
Although A’s manager Connie Mack was handicapped with the loss of one of his starting pitchers, he remained confident in his other aces Jack Coombs and Chief Bender. Bender, coming off his first 20-victory season in the major leagues (he was 23-5), opposed the Cubs' Orval Overall in Game 1 of the Series. The matchup proved a mismatch, with Bender pitching a one-hitter into the 9th inning and Overall departing after allowing three runs and six hits in the first three innings. The A's, getting three hits and two RBIs from Frank Baker, scored a 4-1 victory as Bender completed a three-hitter with eight strikeouts.
In Game 2, Coombs maintained his team’s momentum with a solid, but unspectacular Series leading performance. Although he lasted a complete game, he surrendered 8 hits and 9 walks while managing a 9-3 victory. Philadelphia had consecutively beaten 2 of Chicago’s top aces and prepared to tee off on a 3rd against Series veteran, Ed Reulbach. The A’s came out swinging in Game 3 and drove Reulbach off of the mound in the 2nd inning after tallying 3 runs. Harry McIntire took over in the 3rd with a 3-3 tie, but was shelled for 4 runs in the 1/3 inning. The Cubs continued to collapse and before the inning was over, the A's had tacked or a fifth run en route to a 12-5 romp. Coombs remained unbeatable while pitching with only one day of rest. Playing well on both sides of the plate, he only gave up 6 hits and had three hits and three RBIs.
Suddenly, the mighty Chicago Cubs, considered sports first official dynasty, found themselves on the brink of elimination. Realizing that Philadelphia’s advantage was the direct result of poor pitching, the Cubs put their faith into the right arm of rookie Leonard (King) Cole, who had just completed a 20-4 season. The 24 year-old newcomer handled the pressure well, but was pulled in the 8th inning, while trailing 3-2. Hanging on by a thread, Chicago managed to get something started in the 9th when playing Manager Frank Chance tripled home Frank Schulte. Then, in the 10th, Chicago's Jimmy Sheckard came through with a two-out, game-winning single against Bender, who had gone the distance, but paid for it with a 4-3 loss.
Still alive by their "last stand" victory in Game 4, the Cubs decided to go with their winning reliever, Mordecai Brown against the undefeated Coombs for Game 5. Both pitchers rose to the occasion and went neck and neck for 7 innings. Philadelphia pulled ahead by 1 before adding 5 more in the 8th on the way to a 7-2, Series winning victory. Not only had the A’s defeated baseball’s biggest dynasty, they did it with only 2 starting pitchers (Bender and three-time winner Coombs).
1911: New York Giants (2) vs. Philadelphia Athletics (4)
As the "teens at the turn of the century" emerged, baseball was fast becoming more than just another entertainment spectacle. Soon it would officially be christened "America's national pastime" due in part, to the success of the World Series. After it's introduction in 1903, many had doubted that the merging of the National and American Leagues into a single sporting syndicate would last until the following season. 8 years later, the Fall Classic had proven all of the cynics wrong and evolved into much more than just a post-season exhibition. It had become the pinnacle of growth in major-league baseball and had set a precedent for all other professional sports in America. And they were only getting started…
The 1911 Series echoed a classic rematch of the 1905 contest between the New York Giants and the returning Philadelphia Athletics. Pitching was the most noteworthy aspect of the previous Series with 5 shutouts in 5 games and the confident Giants were poised for another outstanding performance on the mound. Christy Mathewson, their ace with 3 shutouts in the 1905 classic, returned to the big show with a 26-13 record and was backed up by a young emerging lefty named Rube Marquard, who had 24 wins as well. The A's were also ready as their staff including Jack Coombs, Eddie Plank, Chief Bender and Cy Morgan who had combined for 82 victories. Both teams were also dangerous on the other side of the plate. Philadelphia's outfielders Danny Murphy, Bris Lord and Rube Oldring batted a composite .312 and New York had set a long-standing major-league record with 347 stolen bases.
The media frenzy surrounding the 1911 Series was unprecedented due to such an even an unpredictable match-up. The A's, were more than ready to defend their championship title and the Giants were ready to repeat history. Some favored Philadelphia as the returning champions, but many felt that New York was a stronger team after overcoming a difficult season in which their ballpark, the Polo Grounds, had burned to the ground. From April to late June, the Giants played at the yard of the AL's new Highlanders (soon to be Yankees) and still managed to win 99 games with no real "home field" advantage.
Game 1 opened before a record setting attendance of 38,281 at the newly rebuilt Polo Grounds as once again, Chief Bender and Christy Mathewson went head-to-head in a classic pitcher's duel. After taking the lead in the 2nd when Frank Baker scored on a Harry Davis single, the A's stumbled and lost their advantage after several crucial errors in the 4th. Later in the 7th, New York collected the tie-breaker and 2-1 game winner when Chief Meyers scored on a Josh Devore double. In the end, Mathewson had thrown another 6-hitter (6 was becoming his Series standard) and Bender tossed an impressive 5-hitter with 11 K's.
Game 2 looked very familiar as another stalemate broke out on the mound between New York's Rube Marquard and Philadelphia's Eddie Plank. Neither walked a batter and hits were few and far between. With the score tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the 6th inning, Marquard had retired 2 in a row, but was starting to show signs of weakening. Frank Baker, the A's clean-up man who was only in his 3rd season, took advantage of the pitcher's fatigue and knocked one straight over the right-field wall. The Athletics held on to win 3-1 and tied the Series at a game a piece.
The next day, Baker proved that lightning can strike twice with an encore performance in Game 3. Mathewson had the Giants in the lead 1-0 going into the middle of the 9th when the A's young powerhouse stepped up to the plate and delivered another homer over the right-field wall. The New York pitcher stood in disbelief as he watched a second Giants lead slip away in the final inning. Inspired by Baker's back-to-back performances, the A's also repeated and rallied to a 3-2 triumph in the 11th inning. Both team's aces had gone the distance with Coombs giving up only 3 hits and Mathewson surrendering an unimaginable 9.
Although the last 2 games had been close wins, the A's were showing an incredible resolve and started to play like returning World Champions. The Giants on the other hand, were in shock, after giving up 2 consecutive leads so late in the game, the Series momentum had turned and New York was in trouble. They would have plenty of time to think about it as Game 4 was postponed for an entire week due to rain. When the clouds finally parted, a well-rested Christy Mathewson came back for revenge. This time his long-time advisory, Chief Bender, got the best of him in a 4-2 decision that gave the Athletics a 3 game lead.
Philadelphia came out swinging in Game 5 ready to end it then and there. Coombs had held a 3-0 advantage after 6 innings and a 3-1 lead going into the 9th. Down, but not out, New York found their own resolve and managed to start a comeback rally while going on to win 4-3 in the 10th. Fred Merkle scored Fred Snodgrass off of Philadelphia reliever, Eddie Plank. The Giants had escaped elimination and forced at least one more outing for the championship title.
Unfortunately for Giants fans, the win only prolonged their suffering as New York's luck was about to run out. Philadelphia was disappointed in their failure to shut the door on their opponent in Game 5 and was determined not to fail again. Scoring 4 runs in the 4th and 7 in the 7th, the A's steamrolled the Giants on their way to a 13-2 victory and a second consecutive World Series championship. The Giants had failed miserably at the plate with 6 starters batting .190 or less and earning only 8 runs in 6 games. One man in particular, clean-up man Red Murray went 0 for 21. The A's had truly earned their back-to-back title with great tenacity, although most of the credit went to the inspired performance of "Home Run Baker".
1912: New York Giants (3) vs. Boston Red Sox (4)
Once again, the New York Giants stood atop the standings as the most dominant team in the National League. Still reeling from the devastating loss in the previous World Series, they managed to take comfort in the less-than stellar performance of their rival Philadelphia Athletics. The 2x Champions were slated at the beginning of the season for a "three-peat", but later fell to 3rd place and finished 15 games behind the pennant winning Boston Red Sox.
The Giants had a lot of other reasons to smile during the regular season as left-handed ace, Rube Marquard set a long-standing major-league record by going undefeated in his first 19 starts and later went on to finish with 26 wins. Veteran Christy Mathewson had 23 victories and rookie Jeff Tesreau had won 17 games while leading the National League with an ERA of 1.96. At the plate, New York boasted solid performances by Larry Doyle, who batted .330, Fred Merkle who had a .309 average and Chief Meyers who delivered a .358. Merkle and Doyle had combined for 21 homers and Red Murray led the team with 92 RBIs. New York had won 103 games and the National League pennant by 10 games. Boston was also stacked after a magnificent year on the mound by Smokey Joe Wood who had won 34 out 39 games and pitched 10 shutouts. Offensively, Tris Speaker had dominated the American League pitchers with a .383 batting average.
Boston Manager Jake Stahl gave the Game 1 start to superstar Joe Wood while New York's John McGraw chose newcomer Jeff Tesreau over Series veterans Marquard or Mathewson. Rookies, even 17 game winners, rarely started World Series openers and it would prove to be a fatal mistake in the eyes of many Giants fans as Woods and the Sox took a 4-3 first game advantage. Game 2 was a roller-coaster ride as the Giants overcame a 4-2 deficit in the top of the 8th only to allow the tying run during the Sox's half of the inning. Memories of the previous Series late game comebacks and losses to the A's inspired the Giants to regain a 6-5 lead in the 10th. Boston was able to even the score in their next at bat and almost won after Tris Speaker hit what appeared to be an in-the-park homerun (after reserve catcher Art Wilson dropped the ball at the plate) but it was credited as a triple. Neither team could break through in the 11th inning and once again, a World Series game was called short and went into the books as a 6-6 tie due to darkness.
The next day, Giant ace Rube Marquard lived up to his record-setting reputation and evened the Series with a 2-1 triumph. Despite his best efforts, New York's momentum would not last long. In a Game 4 rematch of the opener, Wood and Tesreau went at it again for another performance of "David vs. Goliath" as Smokey Joe out-dueled the young rookie in a 3-1 victory. Surprisingly, Boston decided to turn the tables for Game 5 by starting their own rookie ace, Hugh Bedient, a 20-game winner, against the Giants' veteran Christy Mathewson. This time the story played out true as the Sox's "David" outmatched the Giants' "giant" with a 2-1 decision.
Not wanting a repeat of last year's Series ending performance, the Giants came out in Game 6 with a renewed sense of urgency and knocked Boston starter Buck O'Brien for 5 runs in the 1st inning on their way to a must-win victory. A rejuvenated, New York carried the same momentum into Game 7, getting revenge on the undefeated Wood with 6 runs in the opening inning. With Marquard pitching a seven-hitter and Tesreau finally turning the tables on Wood, the Giants had won 2 crucial games by 5-2 and 11-4 scores. The best-of-seven battle would require an eighth game. Chasing away the demons from the previous year, New York had finally shown it's own tenacity and was ready to finish the job, but Boston wasn't ready to go home empty handed either.
Once again, New York's John McGraw sparked some pre-game controversy after deciding to start Christy Mathewson, who was winless in his 2 previous appearances, for the Series finale. Not to be outdone, Boston started their own argument by selecting their 22-year-old rookie Bedient, who had defeated Mathewson in Game 5 for the crucial start. Both teams went head-to-head for 9 innings to a tense 1-1 standoff. Mathewson was still pitching for New York, while Wood had taken over in the 8th for Bedient (who left the game in the 7th for pinch-hitter, Olaf Henriksen, whose double had tied the score). In the 10th, New York's Red Murray knocked a one-out double and later scored on a Fred Merkle single. While Wood retired the side without further damage, the Red Sox were faced with trying to rebound from a 2-1 deficit.
Desperate Giant fans had already started celebrating as Boston took their turn at an extra-inning comeback. Pinch-hitter Clyde Engle started the bottom half of the inning with a high fly ball to mid-centerfield. Fred Snodgrass stepped back to make the routine catch and accidentally dropped it. His teammates stood in disbelief as the tying run for Boston was now on second base. The visibly shaken Snodgrass was given the opportunity to "save face" on the very next play and shined with a spectacular catch off a Harry Hooper line-drive. Unfortunately, Engle had now advanced to 3rd and was in prime scoring position. Steve Yerkes followed with a walk and Tris Speaker sent Engle home for the tying run. With Yerkes stationed at third and Speaker on first with one out, Duffy Lewis was walked intentionally. Larry Gardner stepped up and belted a deep sacrifice fly to Josh Devore in right field, while Yerkes tagged up and scored. The Red Sox had come back for a 3-2 victory and their second World Series championship. For the stunned Giants, it was their second consecutive defeat in the Fall Classic and an unbelievable finish to what had otherwise been a magical season.
1913: New York Giants (1) vs. Philadelphia Athletics (4)
In a classic rematch, the New York Giants (who had just won their 3rd consecutive pennant and were making their 3rd consecutive World Series appearance) squared off against their post-season rival Philadelphia Athletics. Giants manager John McGraw was still trying to escape the recurring questions surrounding his selected pitching rotations in the previous Fall Classic that had resulted in a Red Sox victory. Once again, he had taken his team through another magnificent season while winning the National League pennant by 12 1/2 games, but many fans had lost faith in his post-season coaching capabilities. Pitching aces Rube Marquard, Christy Mathewson and Jeff Tesreau had been given a second chance and were determined not to make the same mistakes that had cost them game-winning leads in the 1912 championship. Connie Mack's A's were a worthy opponent and many felt that this series would go down to the wire like the last one.
Marquard was given the Giants' start in the opener and was shelled for 5 runs and 8 hits in 5 innings. The last Series' hero "Home Run Baker" validated his handle by driving in 1 run in the 4th and knocking a 2 run homer in the 5th. The Athletics' Chief Bender, faired the same and gave up an unlikely 11 hits while managing a slim 6-4 victory. The Giants' veteran journeyman, Christy Mathewson was given the ball for Game 2. "Matty" as he was called by teammates, was coming off of his next-to-last 20+victory season in the majors as he posted a 25-11 record. The Bucknell star was matched up against his former collegiate rival, Eddie Plank from Gettysburg University. Both aces were at the top of their game, matching each other pitch-for-pitch through 9 scoreless innings. Surprisingly, it was Mathewson himself, who managed to turn his adversary with a 10th inning single setting up a 3-0 triumph.
For Game 3, Mack decided to take a page from the last Series and start a bright 20-year-old rookie named "Bullet" Joe Bush who had won 14 games for him during the regular season. McGraw answered the challenge with his own young gun, Jeff Tesreau, who had successfully debuted as a rookie in the previous Fall Classic. Philadelphia proved to be the better team that day and whopped the Giants' 8-2. The A's maintained their Series leading momentum well into Game 4 and were leading 6-0 after 5 innings. That was until Fred Merkle stepped up to the plate and fueled a Giants' comeback bid with a 3 run homer in the 7th. Bender was able to recover and the A's managed to hold on for a 6-5 victory. The win was Bender's fourth straight in Series competition.
Trailing 3 games to one, New York's Christy Mathewson once again, found himself sharing the mound with Game 1 rival Eddie Plank. However, this time Plank was in control, allowing only 2 hits in a shocking 3-1 decision and Series deciding victory. For the third consecutive year, the New York Giants had played magnificent during the regular season, only to fall short of a championship. It was a heartbreaking defeat to the players and their fans. McGraw and his Giants vowed to shake their "curse" and restore the club to it's former post-season glory. Little did they know that it would be 4 years before they would get another chance.
"Home Run Baker" had led the A's with a .450 batting average and 7 RBIs. Eddie Collins hit .421, while Wally Schang contributed 6 RBIs and a .357 average. Chief Bender's performances in Games 1 and 4 boosted his Series victories to 6. Mathewson, pitching in what would be his final Series, wound up with a 5-5 lifetime mark in the Fall Classic. At one point, he was 4-0 after splitting two decisions in 1913.
1914: Boston Braves (4) vs. Philadelphia Athletics (0)
By 1914, the Philadelphia Athletics had become a World Series regular and had dethroned 2 of major-leagues baseball's first post-season dynasties by beating the mighty Chicago Cubs and New York Giants on more than one occasion. Most of their success had been built on a foundation of solid "big-game" pitching. Chief Bender, a Fall Classic favorite, entered Game 1 with a major-league leading .850 winning percentage and a 17-3 record. His opponent, Dick Rudolph had won 27 games for his Boston Braves. Rudolph pitched a five-hitter and teammate Hank Gowdy made a valiant attempt at a True Cycle when he singled, doubled and tripled. Boston won 7-1 and surprised the presumably overconfident A's who were heavy favorites.
The next day the "Miracle Braves" called on their other ace Bill James who had boasted an impressive 26 wins for his team during the regular season. The A's Connie Mack countered with the 1913 Series winner Eddie Plank and both pitched to a 0-0 standstill after 8 innings. In the top of the 9th, Boston's Charlie Deal hit a one-out double, stole third and scored on a two-out single by Les Mann. In the bottom of the 9th, James walked two batters but got out of the jam by inducing Eddie Murphy to hit into a game-ending double play. James' two-hit, 1-0 victory gave Boston a shocking Series lead of two games to none.
Although the Fall Classic had shifted to Boston, the Braves were still without home-field advantage. Fenway Park (home of the Red Sox) was chosen over their own South End Grounds as a more attractive and inviting venue. Game 3 was anyone's game as the Braves and A's battled to another game extending tie at 2-2 through 9 innings. Once again, "Home Run Baker" came up clutch, hitting a 2 run single off of the Braves starter, Lefty Tyler. The Braves answered back with 2 runs of their own in the bottom of the 10th as Gowdy led off with a timely homer and Joe Connolly produced a run-scoring fly ball later in the inning. Bill James came in as relief for Tyler and shut the Athletics out for the next 2 innings. In the bottom of the 12th, Gowdy knocked a double off of "Bullet" Joe Bush (who had gone the distance) and gave way to a pinch-runner, Mann. After an intentional walk to pinch-hitter Larry Gilbert, Herbie Moran followed with a perfect bunt. Bush grabbed the ball and threw toward the third baseman in an attempt to force Mann, but his throw went wide resulting in much more than an error. Mann jumped at the opportunity and darted home for the 5-4 victory. Boston was now up 3 games to none and the Philadelphia "favorites" were in serious trouble.
After failing to win with the "Big 3" - Bender, Plank and Bush, the Athletics turned to 2nd year man, Bob Shawkey in an effort to get themselves back in the game. The "Miracle Braves" were on the verge of sweeping one of baseball's original dynasties and the A's were running out of options. Shawkey rose to the challenge and shutdown Boston for 3 scoreless innings before giving up one in the 4th. In the next inning, he helped his own cause with a game-tying double, but later surrendered 2 more runs in the bottom of the inning. Game 1 winner, Dick Rudolph held the A's at 1 and the Braves went on to a 3-1 victory and World Series sweep. The Philadelphia Athletics became the first team in World Series history to be eliminated in 4 games (the 1907 Tigers also went winless, but managed a tie game against the Chicago Cubs, extending the contest to 5 games).
Hank Gowdy was a standout for the Braves with 3 doubles, 1 triple and a homer while batting a Series leading .545. Rudolph and James, after accounting for 53 of the Braves' 94 regular-season victories, went undefeated while holding their opponents to a miserable .172 team mark. After their less-than stellar performance Connie Mack's Athletics began rebuilding for the future. Unfortunately, Mack's plan did not include many of the 1914 players. Eddie Collins was traded over the winter, "Home Run Baker" sat out the entire 1915 season in a dispute before being sold to the up-and-coming New York Yankees and both Plank and Bender went off to the Federal League. It didn't stop there, by the middle of 1915, Jack Barry, Eddie Murphy and Bob Shawkey had all been traded or sold. The underdog Braves had not only swept the American League's first real dynasty, they had destroyed it.
1915: Philadelphia Phillies (1) vs. Boston Red Sox (4)
The 1915 Fall Classic was notable mostly for the debut of a young 20-year old lefty named George Herman Ruth. "The Babe" and 5 others from Boston's pitching staff had won 14 or more games for Manager Bill Carrigan on their way to a 101-50 record and were able to edge out the Detroit Tigers for the American League pennant. Another great pitcher, Grover Cleveland Alexander, a 31 game winner, and his Phillies had just won their first National League title and were ready to take their shot at the big one. Philadelphia was also stacked at the plate with Gavvy Cravath, who had led the league with 24 homers and 115 RBIs.
Alexander was given the opening start against Ernie Shore and later emerged as both a 3-1 winner and the first World Series pitcher to shut down baseball's biggest legend. Ruth, who despite his 18 victories was limited to this one appearance (as a pinch-hitter for Shore) grounded out in the 9th. Little was said at the time as no one could have possibly predicted what the future held for this promising pitcher from Baltimore. Boston turned the tables in Game 2 riding on the back of pitcher Rube Foster who held the Phillies to 3 hits and drove in the winning run in the 9th inning. Foster's one man show was witnessed by Woodrow Wilson, who was the first president ever to attend a Fall Classic. A true fan of the game, his appearance validated baseball as America's national pastime and many future chief executives would follow his lead.
With the contest now tied at a game apiece, both teams traveled to Boston for Game 3. The cross-town Braves returned the favor from last year's championship by allowing the use of their yard in place of Fenway Park. Although the home of the Red Sox was considered a more attractive facility, Braves Field was much larger and could handle the capacity crowd of over 42,000. Philly ace, Grover Alexander returned for a second appearance against the left-handed Hubert "Dutch" Leonard. In spectacular fashion, the Red Sox pitcher retired the last 20 batters on the way to a 2-1 victory. Duffy Lewis drove home Harry Hooper in the 9th for the Series leading win. It was more of the same the following day when Philadelphia suffered it's 3 consecutive loss due to the outstanding performance on the mound by Game 1's loser Ernie Shore who only allowed 7 hits in another 2-1 triumph. Boston had rolled over the "City of Brotherly Love" and wasn't showing any signs of slowing down.
Despite the valiant efforts of first baseman Fred Luderus and reliever Eppa Rixey, Philadelphia was unable to hang on in Game 5. Offensively, Luderus had driven in a 2 run double and added a homer in the fourth giving his mates a 4-2 lead. Defensively, Rixey, who had taken over for Erskine Mayer in the 3rd, shut out Boston through the 7th. However, the Phillies ran out of luck in the 8th inning after Duffy Lewis launched a game-tying, 2 run blast. Later in the 9th, Hooper added his 2nd homerun for a 5-4 victory and the Red Sox' 3rd world championship. In a strange twist, the two other teams from Boston and Philadelphia, who were previous World Series contenders, experienced a very different story in 1915. Boston's "Miracle Braves" had run out of divine intervention and barely finished 2nd in the NL and the Philadelphia Athletics, a Fall Classic mainstay, had completely disbanded and ended up in last place 58 1/2 games behind the AL leading Red Sox. Babe Ruth's modest contribution went unnoticed although he would soon become the focal point of a World Series controversy that would haunt the Boston franchise for many years to come.
1916: Brooklyn Robins (1) vs. Boston Red Sox (4)
Another World Series newcomer, the Brooklyn Robins (later known as the Dodgers) had paved their way to the 1916 Fall Classic with solid hitting by Zack Wheat and standout pitching from the arm of Jeff Pfeffer, a 25 game winner. They also boasted 2 World Series veteran acquisitions in Rube Marquard and Jack Coombs who had made several post-season appearances with the Giants and A's. The deck appeared stacked in their favor, but the returning world champion Red Sox would have something to say about that. Brooklyn manager Wilbert Robinson felt that starting 2 lefthanders would give his team an upper hand, so he nominated veteran Marquard and another standout, Sherry Smith for Games 1 and 2 in Boston. Once again, the Red Sox turned to the cross-town Braves Field in favor of Fenway Park to handle to ever-increasing World Series crowds. The Robins' Marquard went up against the 1915 opener's loser, Ernie Shore in what first appeared to be a standoff. The Red Sox were up 2-1 through 6 innings with neither pitcher flinching. That was until both clubs started a scoring frenzy. First, the Red Sox knocked Marquard for 3 runs in the 7th (forcing the veteran to be pulled in favor of Pfeffer) and 1 more in the 8th. Brooklyn answered back with 4 runs of their own in the 9th, but Shore, who had pitched a complete game, cinched the rally and held on for the 6-5 win.
Sherry Smith and another young lefty nicknamed The "Babe" went at it for Game 2 in what has been dubbed as both a "double masterpiece" and a 'hitters nightmare". Through 13 innings, both had allowed only six hits and 1 run each. In the bottom of the 14th, Dick Hoblitzell set the stage for a dramatic finish by drawing his 4th walk of the game. Duffy Lewis followed suite by sacrificing Hoblitzell into scoring position at 2nd. With all his pieces in place, Red Sox manager Bill Carrigan prepared to checkmate his opponent by sending in Mike McNally as a pinch-runner and Del Gainor as a pinch-hitter. Gainor stepped up and delivered, driving in Hoblitzell and sealing Boston's 2-1 victory.
Robinson turned to another Series veteran for Game 3, but this time he chose a right-hander in Jack Coombs. In the first World Series game ever to be played at the newly constructed Ebbets Field, he combined with relief from Jeff Pfeffer, to pitch a 4-3 triumph that put his team back into play. Boston came back the very next day with a counter attack from Hubert "Dutch" Leonard who threw an 8-hitter in a 6-2 reply. Larry Gardner backed him up by adding his 2nd homer in 2 days with a 3-run blast. Series veteran Ernie Shore returned in Game 5 for the Red Sox and shut the door on the Robins with a 4-1, Series deciding victory. The "Beantown Bombers" had joined the ranks of baseball's elite as back-to-back world champions without ever playing a single post-season game in their own house. One of Brooklyn's few standouts, an outfielder named Casey Stengel (who batted a Series leading .364) would go on to become one of the most successful post-season managers in the history of baseball. Unfortunately for Brooklyn fans, it would be with the New York Yankees and 4 of his wins would be over the Dodgers.
1917: New York Giants (2) vs. Chicago White Sox (4)
The Giants finally returned to the Fall Classic after a 4 year hiatus ready to make amends for the 3 consecutive championship losses that they had suffered earlier in the decade. It would be their 5th appearance and the 2nd of their rivals, Chicago's South Side White Sox. 1917 had been a year of many firsts including the first back-to-back no-hitters ever thrown in the American League. On May 5th, Ernie Koob tossed a shutout for St. Louis against Chicago and the very next day his teammate, Bob Groom did the same. Apparently, the second game had been determined by the umpires who changed a scored "hit" in the 1st inning to an error. An outraged Writers Association quickly passed a resolution disallowing such actions for all future games. Some league Umpires were beginning to become unpopular with the players and the no-hitter controversy didn't help their situation. The following month, Babe Ruth started his June 23rd outing with four called balls. The Boston lefty was upset with each call and visited umpire Brick Owens at the plate each time. After the official issued a base on balls to Eddie Foster, Ruth charged the plate and punched him in the face, resulting in an ejection.
The Giants were probably upset too as they found themselves in familiar territory midway through the Series. After 5 relatively uneventful outings, New York was down 3 games to 2. Their starter, Rube Benton and Chicago's (Game 2 and 5 winner) Red Farber were locked in a 0-0 struggle going into the 4th inning when it all came crashing down. The White Sox's Eddie Collins hit a routine grounder to Heinie Zimmerman who overthrew the base. Next, teammate Dave Robertson made another crucial error on a dropped fly-ball from Joe Jackson. In 2 at bats, Chicago had put runners on 1st and 3rd due entirely to poor fielding. The Giants weren't done yet and made another costly misplay on the very next at bat. Happy Felsch stepped up with runners in prime scoring position and grounded back to the mound. Benton saw Collins break from 3rd and threw to Zimmerman in an attempt to get Collins hung up. The 3rd baseman ran Collins toward home, but the White Sox star somehow evaded catcher Bill Rariden to make it a Zimmerman-Collins race to the plate. Collins won the dash with the other 2 runners advancing to 2nd and 3rd. Fundamental baseball had killed the Giants as Rariden, Benton and first baseman Walter Holke, had all left the plate unattended. New York cut the lead to 1 in the 5th, but it wasn't enough as the White Sox walked away with a 4-2 victory and their 2nd World Series championship.
While Faber's Series winning performance grabbed most of the headlines, the Giants' Robertson was another standout. Despite his costly error in Game 6, he had salvaged some respect with his 11-for-22 performance at the plate. Collins was praised, too, as evidenced by his .409 average for the White Sox. One other notable event took place during the 1917 Series as Olympic athlete and football star Jim Thorpe made the only post-season "appearance" of his major-league career in Game 5. Unfortunately, he never made it onto the field. Listed as the Giants' #6 man in the line-up, the right-handed Thorpe was strategically removed for the left-handed pinch-hitter, Robertson after Chicago lifted lefty Reb Russell in favor of righty Eddie Cicotte. Still the biggest story of the 1917 Fall Classic was the New York Giants and their everlasting potential for post-season disasters.
1918: Chicago Cubs (2) vs. Boston Red Sox (4)
In the wake of America's entry into World War 1, the U.S. government called for a shortened season (ending on Labor Day) as well as an accelerated Series to take place immediately after. The perennial "Fall Classic" was temporarily transformed into a "Late-Summer" version and ran from September 5th to the 11th. In the first of many, the 1918 season was the first to show the effects of wartime on baseball. Many of the league's elite players were called up to serve their country and the overall quality of teams suffered as a result. Still, America's national pastime carried on smartly while helping to raise money (and the spirits) of concerned citizens everywhere. More than just a game, baseball would serve this role time and time again for many years to come.
Despite their thinning line-ups, Boston's "Beantown Bombers" had dominated the American League on the way to their 5th World Series appearance. With an undefeated post-season record of 4-0 (they had won as both the Red Sox and the Pilgrims) they were primed and ready for #5. With an elite pitching staff including Carl Mays, "Sad" Sam Jones and "Bullet" Joe Bush, not to mention the multi-talented Babe Ruth, Ed Barrow's team had won the shortened AL pennant race with a 75-51 record. Ruth split time between the outfield and the mound for the first time in his young career and managed to toss13 wins, bat .300 and hit a league leading 11 homers. Their National League rivals, the Chicago Cubs were returning to the big show with an impressive 84-45 tally and an equally promising group on the mound. "Hippo" Vaughn had led the NL with 22 victories and was backed up by Claude Hendrix with 20 wins and Lefty Tyler with 19.
The Cubs opened Game 1 at Comiskey Park, home of the cross-town rival White Sox, rather than their own Weeghman Park (later named Wrigley Field) due to it's larger seating capacity. Trading ballparks was not that unusual back in the day, as the Red Sox had chosen Braves Field over their own Fenway Park for their previous 2 Series appearances. Babe Ruth continued to build on his post-season legacy by extending his consecutive scoreless innings from 13 to 22 against "Hippo" Vaughn in a 1-0 victory. Lefty Tyler managed to even it up the following day by throwing a 6-hit, 3-1 decision. Vaughn returned for revenge in Game 3 backed by his teams newfound momentum, but fell short after losing a 3-1 heartbreaker to Carl Mays.
A well-rested Ruth returned to the mound for Game 4 and increased his scoreless streak to a record 29 consecutive innings with a 3-2 win that also featured a great performance at the plate. The Babe had delivered the winning hit as well with a huge 2-run triple in the 4th. Boston was now up 3 games to 1. Vaughn finally had his revenge in Game 5 tossing a 5-hitter and blanking the Red Sox with a 3-0 triumph, but it would be all the Cubs could muster. Game 6, would be their last stand as Mays buried the hatchet in the form of a 3-hit 2-1 triumph that ended the Series and crowned his franchise as 5x world champions. Boston's grand finale almost didn't take place as the game was delayed due to a heated players debate over gate receipts. Series shares would be reduced drastically because, for the first time, all first-division clubs shared in the revenue. Without a doubt, pitching was easily the most notable statistic of the 1918 Series. Boston's pitchers had combined for an impressive 1.70 ERA and Chicago's boasted an even better 1.04. Neither team scored more than three runs in a game and there wasn't a single homerun in all 6. The victorious Sox batted a miserable.186 and the losing Cubs swung a lowly .210.
1919: Cincinnati Reds (5) vs. Chicago White Sox (3)
Even a casual baseball fan can tell you a little something about the "Black Sox" scandal of 1919. The very fiber that held the game together was challenged when the news broke a year after the series that a fix was on from the first inning of game. Eight members of the participating White Sox including pitchers Eddie Cicotte and Claude (Lefty) Williams, outfielders Joe Jackson and Happy Felsch, first baseman Chick Gandil, shortstop Swede Risberg, third baseman Buck Weaver and reserve infielder Fred McMullin were all charged with conspiring to fix the outcome of the Fall Classic against the Cincinnati Reds. Cynics were tipped off before the Series even started when the pre-game betting odds swapped shortly before the first game. Chicago's White Sox were originally slated as heavy favorites, but were later changed to underdogs in favor of the Cincinnati Reds. Despite the rumors, most fans and members of the press accepted the games to be true, but all that would change in 1920 as suspicions turned into confessions.
The first Game of the 1919 scandal featured an outstanding and "authentic" performance by the Reds' pitcher Dutch Ruether. In addition to going the distance in a 6-hitter, he went 3 for 3 with 2 triples and 3 RBIs. Greasy Neale, who would go on to lead his team in hitting with a .351, also performed well at the plate in tandem with teammate Jake Daubert. The White Sox put on quite a show themselves, losing 9-1 in questionable fashion. Nothing changed the following day as Cincinnati's Slim Sallee faired the same, tossing a 4-2 Game 2 victory that was sealed by a Larry Kopf 2-run triple in the 4th. Dickey Kerr, an up and coming rookie for the White Sox, drew the start for Game 3. Apparently untouched by the scandal, the tough lefthander refused to roll over and threw a 3-hit 3-0 winner to put Chicago back in the race (whether they wanted to be or not).
The inspired Reds, unaware that a fix was on, pitched back-to-back shutouts in Games 4 and 5 on the arms of Jimmy Ring (2-0) and Hod Eller (5-0) who sat down 6 consecutive batters. But wait! It wasn't over yet... In any other year, the Series would have ended there, but 1919 was different. Due to the intense postwar interest, the commissioner of baseball had decided to extend this Fall Classic to a best-of-nine affair.
To curb further suspicion, the "Black Sox" decided to make a "reasonable effort" and rebounded in the following 2 games with 5-4 and 4-1 victories. Cincinnati "dominated" the final outing "with a little help" from their crooked rivals in a 10-5 stomp that started with 4 runs in the 1st inning. The Reds had won their first world championship in their first Fall Classic appearance. Unfortunately, the victory would be bittersweet after the scandal had been confirmed a year later. The "Black Sox" had been able to camoflague their deception by being selective in their misdeeds. Joe Jackson had batted a Series-leading .375 but acknowledged that he had let up in key situations. Buck Weaver had also performed well at the plate by hitting .324. Chick Gandil had game-deciding hits in 2 outings and Eddie Cicotte had tossed a one-run game to avoid elimination.
After a lengthy investigation in 1920, the members of Chicago's tainted team were amazingly acquitted the following year despite their own confessions (which were recanted later). All of the players involved were banned from baseball because of their undeniable link to gamblers. The league offices were constantly denying accusations from the press that professional baseball itself was in on the take and made every effort to assure the fans that the 1919 scandal was an isolated incident. "Regardless of the verdict of juries," the commissioner said in a statement, "no player that throws a ball game, no player that entertains proposals or promises to throw a game, no player that sits in a conference with a bunch of crooked players and gamblers where the ways and means of throwing games are discussed, and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever again play professional baseball." To this day participants in the "Black Sox" conspiracy have been denied entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
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